Inside a Rhododendron
By Liz Giles-Brown
I was riding my bike on a bright sunny day,
Just one of the ways that I get out to play.
I heard children’s voices as I pedaled along.
But saw no one around… perhaps I was wrong?
I looked all about giving pedals some push,
And realized the sound came from a rather large bush!
A round Rhododendron had grown very tall,
Making play space for winter, spring summer, and fall.
With leaves for a roof, dirt or snow making the floor,
And a creative young dad had crafted a door!
The sound of pretend brought joy to my heart.
Finding neighborhood play is not a lost art.
My childhood was blessed with time in the wood.
Creating and playing whenever we could.
New adventures each morning, afternoon and at night,
Building jumps for our bikes, solving conflicts on site.
Unstructured play need not be a thing of the past.
It’s the work of a child with lessons that last.
Hannaford, Carla, Ph.D. (2005) Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head. Utah: Great River Books
Louv, Richard. (2005) Last child in the woods: saving our children from nature-deficit disorder Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
In the hurry-up world we live in, the evidence of unstructured time for children to play sometime takes a back burner to what is perceived to be more important. In her book, Smart Moves – Why learning isn’t all in your head, Carla Hannaford helps us to understand why much of what we hurry and push to accomplish with young children is at odds with their physiological development.
It's time to slow down and make time for play.
This simple door represents a parent’s understanding of how important it is to make time for and encourage his children’s play. This inviting yard is often the gathering place for neighborhood kids. Children imagine, pretend, create, solve problems, and all the while, learn essential life lessons while building social and emotional skills. We know that time for play and time to be outside in nature is vital for both children and adults. Richard Louv helps us understand how essential getting out in nature is for everyone's health and well-being in his book Last Child in the Woods.
It's time to slow down and make time to play outdoors.
Look for children playing in your neighborhood and enjoy the sights and sounds!
Yours for healthy & active life-long learning,
Inside a Rhododendron
Liz Giles-Brown, M.Ed
With 31 years in education, I am committed to sharing ways to infuse learning with movement, music, rhythm & rhyme to oxygenate, energize, and integrate brains and bodies, motivate learners, and enhance learning.